The legal death of Marvin Minsky was publicly reported on Monday, January 25, 2016. There has been speculation on the part of numerous individuals and publications that he may have been cryopreserved by Alcor. This notice is Alcor’s formal response to inquiries on this issue.
In a public ceremony at the Extro-3 conference in 1997, nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler presented Prof. Minsky with a bracelet given to all new Alcor members. This bracelet provides emergency contact information and basic instructions. Minsky has spoken publicy many times about his advocacy of overcoming aging and the inevitability of death and about cryonics (human cryopreservation) as a last resort. He was also among the 67 signatories of the Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics and a member of Alcor’s Scientific Advisory Board. This much is public knowledge. None of this necessarily means that Prof. Minsky had cryopreservation arrangements at the time of legal death. Alcor neither confirms nor denies whether Prof. Minsky had such arrangements.
Alcor’s official response may puzzle some readers, so we would like to point out the privacy options that have been and currently are available to our members. When a member signs up for cryopreservation by Alcor, they have four options:
1. They can give Alcor permission to freely release their information at its discretion.
2. They can give Alcor permission to release their name and number only to other Alcor Members.
3. They can instruct Alcor to maintain reasonable confidentiality pursuant to the provisions of Attachment I. After their cryopreservation, Alcor is authorized to freely release their information at its discretion, including information Alcor deems appropriate about the individual’s cryopreservation.
4. They can instruct Alcor to maintain reasonable confidentiality pursuant to the provisions of Attachment I.
These options can be found in Attachment 1 here:
Therefore, if Alcor says that we can neither confirm nor deny that a specific person has cryonics arrangements with our organization, that could mean that (a) they do not have such arrangements (even if they had them in the past), or (b) that the individual has chosen the second or fourth options.